Samuel Barber

Sunday, September 10, 1978

Bob Sherman talks to composer Samuel Barber, whose Third Essay for orchestra will be premiered by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta.

WNYC archives id: 70018


Samuel Barber

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Robert Sherman


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Comments [3]

Howard from Florida

I've long enjoyed a religious choral piece, "Prayers of Kirkegaard" written in memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky and a patriotic band piece "Commando March" he wrote while in the Army Air Corps. On the basis of these, I wonder what other delights might have been in store for us had Barber chosen to write more choral and band works.

Mar. 09 2015 07:44 PM
Betty Greitzer from NYC

Let's not forget one of Barber's best, "Knoxville: Summer of 1915." The first recording with Eleanor Steber is a classic, but Dawn Upshaw brings a new and welcome view of the piece. And as far as "The Hermit Songs" are concerned, I much prefer the first recording of the cycle with a very young Leontyne Price and the composer himself at the piano. Finally with respect to "Vanessa," the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast of the original cast has been commercially released, and it's more satisfying, not to mention exciting, than the studio version. Eleanor Steber is incredible.

Mar. 09 2015 12:08 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

Many thanks to WQXR for allowing us to hear this interview. It's the only time I've ever heard Mr. Barber speak, though I'm one of the many who listen to his music again and again. Those interested in Mr. Barber's singing voice should listen to "Dover Beach" with Mr. Barber, baritone and the Curtis String Quartet. My favorite performances --- and suggested listening to one and all who are newcomers to his music --- are as follows: For an overture, "Overture to The School for Scandal", Janssen Symphony of Los Angeles, Werner Janssen, conductor; for strings, "Adagio for Strings", Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony; for music lovers who insist on stereo,a stunning performance by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra; for symphony, "Symphony No. 1" (in one movement) dedicated to Menotti, Bruno Walter, Phil.-Symph. Orch. of New York; songs, "Hermit Songs" with Barbara Bonney; opera, "Vanessa", Met. recording of the premiere cast including Steber, Gedda, Elias, Tozzi,with Mitropoulos, conductor; chamber music, "Capricorn Concerto" with the Saidenberg Little Symphony and Julius Baker, flute, Harry Freistadt, trumpet, Mitchell (Mitch) Miller, oboe, Daniel Saidenberg, conductor. (Parenthetically, Toscanini premiered "Adagio for Strings" in the full string complement and "Essay No. 1" in a 1938 concert, recorded "Adagio for Strings" in 1942, again played "Adagio for Strings" in 1941 and "Essay No. 1" in 1942.)

Mar. 09 2015 10:26 AM

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